Which Nigerian Music Producer-Turned-Singer Surprised You the Most?

July 13, 2022

There’s a popular saying that goes, “The only constant thing in life is change,” and the music producers on this list embody this philosophy. 

After making hits for some of our favourite singers behind the scenes, these producers have gone on to replicate the same (or almost the same) level of success for themselves as singers in their own rights. 

But of all the producer-turned-singer transitions, which one shocked fans the most and which one made us go, “Oh, yeah, this makes sense”? 

Young Jonn

Between 2014 and 2016, almost every Olamide song started with the lines, “It’s Young Jonn, the wicked producer.” He showed his “wickedness” producing songs like Story For The Gods, Bobo, Falila Keitan and Blood Money. But nothing prepared me for his 2022 EP, Love Is Not Enough or just how much I’d be obsessed with Dada, his single with Davido. 

While I couldn’t place a face to the name when he was producing, now I know what Young Jonn looks and sounds like when he’s singing. And let’s just say, I’m totally here for it. 

Pheelz 

I can’t recap 2022 without talking about how we were all shouting, “If I broke na my business!” at the top of our voices. It didn’t matter whether we were at the club or on a long queue for spicy rice at Chicken Republic, Pheelz and BNXN’s Finesse has been everywhere this year. 

But before becoming a household name and badass performer (this video lives rent-free in my head), Pheelz was always behind the scenes and in his producer bag creating major hits like Durosoke for Olamide, Billionaire for Teni, Scatter for Fireboy DML and Pick Up for Adekunle Gold. No one was doing it like Pheelz as a producer and it looks like he’s moved that energy to his singing as well. Love it!

Kiddominant 

What do Orezi’s Rihanna, Davido’s Fall, Mr Eazi and DJ Neptune’s Marry and Mayorkun’s Mama all have in common? Yes, you guessed right — it’s Kiddominant’s special touch. Even though he’d churned out major hits as a producer, I was still shocked to hear his voice singing the chorus on AKA’s Fela in Versace. Since then, Kiddominant has dropped an EP and changed the spelling of his name to KDDO. 

Nigerian artists are taking this rebranding thing seriously. 

RECOMMENDED: We Listened and These Are the Biggest Songs of 2022 So Far

Maleek Berry 

Cutting his teeth behind the scenes as a UK-based producer creating bangers for  Wizkid, Maleek Berry made a big shift becoming an artist with songs like Kontrol, Eko Miami and the unforgettable Juice with Ycee. You had to be there for his 2016 EP, Last Daze of Summer. Someone needs to bring Maleek back because the streets miss his vocals for real. 

Don Jazzy 

Technically, we heard Don Jazzy’s voice on D’banj’s Tongolo when it dropped back in in 2005. Even though some of us thought it would be a one-time thing, as producers sometimes make vocal cameos on their songs, Don Jazzy has become one of the most sought-after Nigerian singers. And he does this while running a massive record label, producing hits for everyone from Burna Boy to Ruger, and killing it as a social media influencer.  

Does he have two heads, or are the rest of us just lazy? These are the questions. 

Tekno 

Many of us didn’t even know Tekno was a producer until his career blew up as a singer. From rhyming Lagbaja with Gwagwalada on Pana to calling out all the tribal female names he could find on Duro, we’ve all come to know Tekno as a big hitmaker. But while working as an upcoming musician, Tekno produced songs for Bracket, Victoria Kimani, Ice Prince. After he “blew”, he produced If for Davido in 2017.

Davido 

Guys, his first hit as a producer was his own song, so it just makes sense that Davido is the least surprising producer-to-artist transition story on this list. While Davido had produced for Dammy Krane, everything changed when he dropped his debut single, Back When, and we all heard him say, “On the beat, it’s Davido.” 

Breaking out as a producer and an artist simultaneously is a major feat. But if there was anyone who could pull it off, it had to be OBO himself. 

ALSO READ: These Producers Helped Make Afrobeats Famous, Give Them Their Flowers

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

January 22, 2020

Reekado Banks — “Rora (Acoustic Version)” Every year since he broke out, Reekado Banks has dropped at least one defining hit. For 2019, it was the exceptional “Rora”. Now, to kick off the new year, he’s dropped an acoustic version of the vibrant track. This iteration enlists Femi Leye, whose solo guitar riff helped end […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

August 13, 2022

The subject of this week’s Sex Life is a 25-year-old queer woman who owns half a dozen sex toys and wants more. She talks about her sex toy curiosity, the trial and errors before she found the perfect ones and how she navigates sex with people. 

Recommended Quizzes

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

October 30, 2019

2010 was a game-changing one for Nollywood, with our movies making serious cash and getting international acclaim. So, which of these hits released between 2010 and 2019 — from the pace-setting The Wedding Party to the divisive Trip To Jamaica — best suits your personality? Well, that’s what this quiz is here to answer:

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

More from Pop

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X